Smaller Footprints, Greater Strides
Climate change has become a top environmental and economic concern. In 2018, we supported the Paradigm Healthy Cookstoves and Water Treatment Project in Kenya for the third consecutive year to help address the global environmental and public health impacts of carbon emissions.
Cookstoves reach higher temperatures and burn fuel more cleanly than traditional, open fire cooking methods thanks to specialized construction that traps and contains smoke and CO2 fumes. By using cookstoves, people not only save time and income previously spent on gathering firewood, they also limit deforestation. And, by improving air quality in the home, cookstoves can help prevent respiratory-related illnesses.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Paris Agreement of 2015 set out to limit the global temperature rise to below 2°Celsius. Companies can do a lot to help achieve this goal, starting with setting aggressive environmental targets — and measuring progress against those targets annually.
In 2017, we reset our corporate environmental goals for carbon emissions, water usage and recycling. Here's a snapshot of how we’re performing.
Carbon Is the New Currency
We support the Paradigm Project — and a number of global environmental improvement programs — through the purchase of gold-standard renewable energy credits, or RECs, that offset carbon emissions from our buildings, operations and travel. How do RECs work? We “charge” a fee to each of our office buildings around the world based on its carbon intensity and location. We then use that money to purchase carbon credits that support clean air, non-fossil fuel power and improved infrastructure via renewable energy programs.
In 2018, we derived 100 percent of the electricity for our North America operations from renewable energy investments.
Clean Power? It’s in the Air
For years, we’ve invested in wind farms across the United States that help deliver clean power, including a small-scale wind project in Massachusetts and a first-of-its-kind community wind investment partnership in South Dakota. We’ve broadened our scope, purchasing carbon offsets for wind power in Poland and exploring clean power programs in other areas of the world such as India, where we have a growing employee base.
As transportation contributes significantly to global carbon emissions, in 2018 we expanded the flexible work schedules we offer to employees and added alternative commuting options. These benefits not only contribute to employees’ well-being, but also help reduce the environmental impact of commuting.
The Brightest Bulb in the Box
Where we work matters as much to the environment as how we get there. With the construction of our new headquarters in Boston, we’re pursuing LEED Gold certification, along with a state-of-the-art efficiency and workplace experience. We’re also retrofitting buildings in key locations to reduce our energy usage and costs — for example, replacing inefficient, outdated lighting with LED lighting.
Other improvements in energy efficiency efforts include transitioning to a colocation data center in Scotland; an arrangement that allows sharing of utilities and resources. In addition to helping us conserve energy, this program has allowed us to capture dramatic savings on capital costs and maintenance.